The conflict in Ukraine is approaching a month of devastation, escalating into a deadly kinetic war of contact in the hybrid realm between Russia and Ukraine, with the US-led West waging a non-kinetic, non-contact war. and undeclared in the field of economic information. , diplomatic and political, simultaneously, to target Russia. What we are witnessing are over three million refugees, numerous military and civilian casualties, with short windows of intermittent tones of reconciliation, amid rhetoric from opposing sides to keep fighting, and strategic signals with exchanges of nuclear references between Russia and the United States.
As the US-led West continues to applaud President Zelenskyy’s moving speeches, aside from packages of military equipment and funds, he is adding fuel to the fire by prolonging the global agony and by encouraging Ukrainians to fight to the death to weaken Russia by intensifying economic and information warfare. While NATO can pretend that Ukraine is not part of it; therefore, he is not obliged to join the war with Russia by imposing a “no-fly zone – as Zelenskyy has repeatedly demanded – because it has the potential to start a third world war or even a nuclear war, but NATO is an integral part of the conflict through instruments of non-contact warfare.Russia has drawn a red line by reminding the West of its policy of using nuclear weapons, if it is facing an existential threat, signaling NATO to back off Ukraine.
NO WORRIES ABOUT HUMANITARIAN DISASTERS
Any offensive against another sovereign country has disastrous consequences for the people and must be condemned, whether it is the current Russian offensive in Ukraine or the previous NATO invasions of Iraq and other parts of the MENA region. With few security guarantees, this was avoidable, but great power contestation continues to spiral, with President Zelenskyy’s display of heroism failing to read the breadth, depth and impact Western support and determination of President Putin, realizing at least that the nationalism and determination of his people is being used as an instrument to escalate an unwinnable proxy war, leading his country to disaster. The war of stories seems to become dangerous with references to the nuclear, biological and chemical dimensions in heated exchanges/allegations/counter-allegations.
AFTER A MONTH OF WAR
After a month, the battlefield shaped by the Russians seems to make strategic sense, but at a very heavy cost, which continues to increase exponentially. Russia’s main offensive is directed towards Kyiv, which is the center of gravity for achieving the political goal of imposing a non-NATO diktat on its political leaders or forcing regime change by the shortest route from Belarus. Complete isolation of kyiv is not yet achieved and political consolidation is not in sight. Given the spirit of nationalism among Ukrainians, stoked by the sentimental appeals of Zelenskyy and reinforced by Western information warfare, the Russians need to moderate their political focus from regime change to imposition of a NATO-free deal with Zelenskyy, because any pro-Russian puppet regime, even if imposed, is unlikely to survive.
The Russian military objective of demilitarizing the Ukrainian army to ensure that Ukraine cannot be used as a launching pad by NATO to threaten Russia’s security, has been partially achieved by extensive airstrikes and missiles to neutralize the air defense capability, air assets to obtain a favorable air situation, pulverizing military targets, claiming to have destroyed most of them, including airfields and military installations in Ukraine. Russia is seizing more and more strategic installations to intensify the pressure on Zelensky.
The southern offensive aims to cut off Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov by securing a permanent land corridor from Russia to Crimea with an end state of landlocked Ukraine. The Russians were able to reach most of the corridor except Odessa, with intense fighting in townships like Mariupol. The eastern offensive aims to liberate the entire Luhansk and Donetsk regions, where heavy fighting continues despite initial gains.
Ukraine’s firm determination to resist a Russian offensive under the leadership of President Zelenskyy has been remarkable, having deliberately prepared for the conflict. To overcome the asymmetry in military assets, the Ukrainian force deployed smartly in densely populated areas to fight pitched battles in the cantons, despite the loss of air cover in the early stages of the conflict. The strategy is to deploy military assets in civilian areas, turn cities into fortresses and residential areas into pillboxes, induce mercenaries and civilians to fight as part of the war machine, launch snipers, ambushes, small team operations, drone attacks on lighter convoys. , and incentivize Russians to target residential areas to gain a propaganda advantage over civilian casualties through superior, Western-backed information warfare to demonize President Putin. With the adoption of an urban insurgency model, the war has shifted from conventional warfare to hybrid warfare, with both sides planning to induct more non-state actors.
The Ukrainian strategy seems to have succeeded in delaying Russian operations and putting Russia in the delicate position of having to choose between fighting in populated and built-up areas, which is prohibitive in terms of human and material losses in favor of the defender, or besieging , bombing townships, residential areas believed to house military assets, disrupting essential services and pressuring Zelenskyy, at the cost of risking international condemnation. The Russians appear to have chosen the latter option, extending the range of airstrikes to western Ukraine, which is the lifeline for Western aid, including military hardware.
DO NATO’S ACTIONS HELP UKRAINE?
The United States and its Western allies claim to be helping Ukraine through financial and diplomatic sanctions against Russia and military material support to Ukraine of the kind (smaller caliber) that can improve the endurance of Ukrainian fighters and provoke a long-term insurgency in Europe, even if the negotiations are concluded in due time. The goal is to permanently weaken Russia by militarizing Ukrainian nationalism, by posing Zelensky as a hero, to continue to fight with their proxy support. EU support for refugees from Ukraine is the only positive humanitarian support, where the UK and US seem to hesitate.
As the war drags on, Ukraine will be physically destroyed, Russia will suffer a punitive financial cost, the EU will lose lasting peace, energy security, in addition to grappling with a refugee load insurmountable, and the whole world will suffer economically. Ukrainian and Russian residents and soldiers will bear the brunt of this. While the EU presents a bold and united front with the United States to weaken Russia, it has its limits, to the point where its gas supply is snuffed out, with the risk of insurgency at its doorstep.
In the short term, the United States may appear to take advantage of Russia’s weakness by increasing arms and oil exports, but in the long term, it will lose credibility and reliability on a global scale. China will emerge wiser and stronger, learning from the Russian experience and assessing the risk profile of the United States, whose leadership is fixated on the wrong adversary and unable to fight the true competitor in Indo. -Peaceful. Shifting attention from China to Russia will accelerate the decline of the fragile United States as a superpower, faster than its strategists anticipate.
Sanctions appear to be losing their luster, as more sanctions could lead non-Western countries to seek an alternative financial system that does not depend on the West, jeopardizing their long-term interests. The world is more intertwined than it was before, and with the economic pivot shifting from the West to the Indo-Pacific, a de-dollarized financial system could be the most significant future risk for US states. United. An example of this is the Russian demand for gas payment in rubles from the West.
For European security, a neutral Ukraine is the best option. Ukraine has never been accepted into NATO and is unlikely to be accepted in the future, as it has never fulfilled the basic criterion of a peaceful internal and external situation, being involved in conflicts in both dimensions. It is better for Ukraine and Russia to accept the reality as soon as possible and solve the problem through direct dialogue, putting aside rhetoric, egos and feelings. It might also be better for the West to encourage a ceasefire through talks, taking into account the legitimate security interests of all parties, rather than adding fuel to the fire by imposing more sanctions or providing more lethal material to escalate the war.
Major General SB Asthana is an army veteran. The opinions expressed are personal opinions of the author, who retains copyright. The author can be reached on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ as Shashi Asthana, @asthana_shashi on Twitter and by email email@example.com.